top of page


I love hearing stories of reinvention. Here are some of my favorite ones,
as well as thoughts on mental health and wellness. 


As we head into the holidays, many of us will gather with family, some of us with joy and others with a knot in our stomachs, anticipating trouble ahead. Family dynamics are tricky and it's hard for even the most competent, therapized person in the world not to end up fighting with a sibling over Dad's car keys. These patterns are formed so early and are so ingrained, it's hard to not take the bait. When you notice your brother slipping into drunk uncle mode and you feel that tightening in your chest, listen to your body. Slip into the bathroom, take some long deep breathes and splash cold water on your face. This will reset your central nervous system and help you to relocate your adult self. Then, when you feel grounded again, go back out there.

Rinse and repear if necessary.

0 views0 comments

At a point in my life where I was feeling very stuck, a friend suggested I join her pottery class. That class became a turning point for me. It began to shift my energy to a place where I was able to move forward in my life. It led to me getting my master’s in clinical psychology and becoming a therapist. In the pottery studio, I found a community that supported and encouraged me, where I could laugh and create. It gave me badly needed self-esteem, when mine was low. It taught me about letting go of expectations, and how to be present to what was in front of me, and it taught me to find the beauty in the imperfect. Because of this experience I often suggest to creatives who are feeling blocked to try working on a project in another medium, to see if approaching their creative process from a new angle will help open something up and get things moving again.

In my first class, seated at a long table of people working on hand building, I made a pinch pot. Every step of the way other people were helping me, telling me how well I was doing, that I was a natural, giving me pointers, and my pinch pot was looking pretty good. I was happy. When it finally came out of the kiln, I was so excited to see my pretty pale lavender pot. Instead, this crooked, shrunken, sickly pale gray thing came out. I was devastated. Someone walking past saw my face and shrugged “it’s only clay, make another one”. I soon learned that many things go wrong in the process of making pottery, things break or crack, colors shift. To be a potter means learning to love the process of making pottery and letting go of your expectations for how it turns out. The woman who said this to me had spent six months working on a piece, a very detailed Chinese dragon, only to have another piece fall on it in the final kiln and break it. It reminded me of Buddhist monks who make intricate drawings in the sand only to erase them afterwards.

Throwing is a very meditative process. You really need to feel the clay and breathe with it. It’s very grounding because you genuinely have the earth in your hands. To center the clay and pull it up, you must focus solely on it, or it will become wobbly and collapse. If you are having an absentminded kind of a day, it will show up in the clay. Once on a day like that, I was working on a piece when it started to collapse. I stopped my wheel, thinking it was ruined and several women started saying “Don’t stop, you can save it, Wabi Sabi!” Wabi Sabi is a Japanese term for finding the beauty in the imperfect, and it became a mantra of the studio. I was able to save it and it became one of my favorite beautiful mistakes.

Over time, these lessons began to spill over into my life. When things didn’t go as planned, I could more easily pivot or shrug it off. I started looking for the beauty or the lesson in what happened. I became more present to what I was feeling and began to stop measuring myself against other people, and I stopped feeling that I ‘should’ be at a certain place in my life. I began to realize what I wanted and needed in my life, and slowly, I was able to build it.

I will be forever grateful to my friend who suggested the class and I treasure my time in the studio, where I feel the love, support, and laughter of my community there. I still feel stuck occasionally, but then I take it into the studio and assign myself to make something I haven’t ever done before, unafraid of failure, because after all, ‘it’s only clay’.

Updated: Sep 10

Back in July, I was invited to be a guest on Beyond Artist Block a therapy podcast by Rachel Moore LMFT, to talk about a group I created called Ageism and the Creative Professional. I then asked Alyce Waxman, who co-facilitated and co-developed the group with me, to join us. Initially, because I was terrified to do it alone, but really it was because I love Alyce who is so smart and funny and wise.

We started out the podcast by talking about ageism being the last acceptable “ism” and how it disproportionally effects the creative fields. For many mid-life creatives it’s a slow career death, with jobs coming in less and less. As the jobs ebb away, you can feel less relevant, a sense of shame and/or a loss of identity.

We talked about the importance of community for everyone but especially for creatives. Creatives need to be seen; their art needs an audience for it to have meaning. As Alyce puts it “…One of the things that’s so important about being a creative is that, like, supercharged moment when one creative connects with another creative”.

And… we talked about how much we loved our group! The group really supported and mentored each other in a beautiful way. We had a real mix of creative disciplines including writing, acting, painting, and creative direction. Our members felt inspired to start new projects and finish old projects and even shared projects with us in session. We talked about how the creative process and making art contributes to our sense of self and well-being, and I think everyone felt a little less alone in the world. We hope to be starting it up again in 2024 and will put the word out when we do.

And lastly, I ended by saying “For me it’s about always finding your truth as an artist and staying in touch with who you are because that will always bear fruit, you will always, if you connect with yourself, connect to other people”.

Beyond Artist's Block, podcast, Tracy Sondern, Alyce Waxman agiing creatives navigating life transition
Beyond Artist's Block Tracy Sondern Alyce Waxman

bottom of page